Brent Says He Spoke To The Prime Minister and they together decided on the deal for the Town Centre Mall where the General Post Office is to be for next five years.
Here’s our take on it the scandal which will bring the scandal which will bring the FNM government down:
We believe that the Prime Minister and his colleagues misled the House of Assembly and the country when they passed a resolution on 24th October 2018, to authorize Brent Symonette, then a Minister of the Government and a Member of the House of Assembly to enter into a lease with the Bahamas Government of which he was then a part. The PLP voted against the resolution because it would have been sanctioning a conflict of interest and blatant self-dealing. The resolution said in part the following material paragraph:
“…And whereas one of the beneficial of owners of the Town Centre Mall is a serving Cabinet Minister who did not take part in the discussion leading to the decision to accept the offer to lease portions of the building, which will be made suitable for the operations of the General Post Office at the expense of the landlord, which Minister has nonetheless declared his interest…”
These words were part of a resolution passed by the House of Assembly and supported by the Prime Minister and his government to facilitate the lease with the Town Centre Mall and Brent Symonette, now a backbencher but then a minister of the government.
On Thursday 11th July 2019, Brent Symonette while appearing on the talk show of Shenique Miller said the following:
“…I had no discussion with anyone about it. I figured there’s no way they are going to rent from my brother and myself, so I left it alone. The phone rang one morning in whenever whenever, I was in Mexico. It was early in the morning, PM and I get up early and PM said we are going to go ahead with the lease. I said PM, I can deliver it by Christmas if it’s no Rolls Royce and we have to reduce the size of the building. It can’t be 70, 80 thousand square feet. It has to be a Volkswagen not a Rolls Royce. We had that discussion. I said you have to deal with the whole question of conflict of interest. He said we will do a resolution in the House of Assembly. He said: what will the rent be. I said: 12 dollars per square foot and I came back. My partners dealt with the Ministry of Works everything else. We pretty well did the plan that was left in place by the PLP government except for the cafeteria upstairs and some other space and the building was opened after some massive changes in the plans at the rent of 12 dollars per square foot for some 56,000 square feet at 12 dollars as opposed to 25 dollars at 56,000. So the people who quote the wrong number it’s 56,000 dollars a month which is 700,000 dollars per year not 900,000 that I see in the press (sic.). There is no CAM ( common area maintenance) charge. The Landlord put in some 500,000 dollars worth of extras for the Government like furniture and everything else which the government did not buy and that will be charged back over 60 months at an interest rate of prime, not prime plus prime. To date as of July 2, the lease has not been signed because it is between the Attorney General’s office and to sort out the square footage and everything else. So that’s the history. It’s for five years. And that’s the history of the mall. So that everyone is very clear, the mall is owned by my brother fifty per cent and myself fifty per cent.”
This clearly contradicts out of Mr. Symonette’s mouth, what he and the Prime Minister represented in the House of Assembly on this matter. They fooled the public. They must both resign.
It is time for a vote of no confidence in the Government if he Prime Minister refuses to go.